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30 M1 Carbine
Well boys, another one of these little jewels followed me home the other day. I think this is the 8th one that I have owned. The first one was a M1-A1 Paratrooper model back in 1961. I sure wish I had that one back. I don’t know why I keep buying these things and then selling them; guess that’s the gun trader in me. They do handle well and are fun to shoot. I recall my first loading efforts with the .30 Carbine. I was casting a Lyman #311359 bullet and had only an improper top punch, standard steel dies, and poor financial prospects kept me from buying a sizing die smaller than the .311 one I already owned. In those days I used once fired military brass. To top this off, I had no caliper or case trimmer, and was a very inexperienced “newbie” reloader. Needless to say, the quality of my ammunition was kind of weak. I put forth the old adage, “I marginally achieved the very low standards I set for myself” in describing these earlier efforts. Despite the poor quality of my ammunition, several foxes, a multitude of feline targets, quite a few rats, some turtles, a couple of snakes of assorted varieties and a bunch of beverage cans bit the dust in front of that first little carbine. I recall that after several months of shooting cast, the carbine stopped functioning. I procured a piston nut wrench and removed about 200 grains of shaved lead from the gas system, no doubt the result of shooting the soft #311359s without GCs. Later I procured a Ruger .30 Carbine Blackhawk which has done right well with cast reloads. I was hopeful that my reloading skills had improved over the years, and that with additional correct equipment, I might get some good shooting with cast from this latest carbine. I’m quite amazed at the dispersion of the M1 and M2 Carbines I have encountered over the world during my travels. It seems that soldiers in every country I visited during my Army career used these handy little rifles in some form or another. I even carried an old M2 in Viet Nam for a couple of weeks as a spare weapon on a UH-1C while assigned as a door gunner, but quickly gave it up. It tended to be unreliable in functioning, which was completely unacceptable under the circumstances, so it was cleaned, turned back into supply, and is still probably doing some kind of duty in the hands of a Montagnard tribesman in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam . When I brought this rascal home, I looked it over well. It is a good, honest old Standard Products GI M1 Carbine. The barrel was good and the remainder was clean but well worn. I dug through my coffee can of brass and separated all of the junk brass for use in it as I knew darned well I’d lose some brass and didn’t want to sacrifice the commercial brass to the grass gods at the range. It appears every country in the world has at one time or another taken a fling at making ammunition for this little gem. I had US stuff with headstamps from 1941 through 1972. The LC 1972 stuff was our contribution to “Vietnamization,” as I recall. There was plenty of Korean stuff in the mix, along with some Sellers & Belliot, some CBC, a few rounds probably of British manufacture marked .300, some 7.62K marked stuff, some boxer primed Norma cases with military head stamps that came in French marked boxes dated in the 50s, and some with even more obscure head stamps that I didn’t recognize. During my earlier carbine encounters, I fired hundreds of rounds of the old EC steel cased carbine ammunition made by Evansville Chrysler during WWII. It fired normally despite the age but the condition of the cases was sometimes rough due to exposure to the elements. Properly stored steel cased ammunition can be fired with no problems. I have reloaded the steel cases but they’re hard on dies and are best left for shooting in situations where
I loaded them anyway and detected no problems in head spacing or functioning during firing. Examples include the RCBS 30-115-RN. I was determined not to run out and buy any more moulds as I have several that I thought would be just right and I have enough moulds as is.5 122. 311410. 311359 HP.6 114. and 311576.0 129. as well as moulds from many of the custom shops. 3118.2 At first I was unable to get the #3118. 302 Saeco.0 119. 254 Saeco. This small bevel allowed these fine designs to feed with no difficulty. L-R: 308244. full-length resized them in RCBS tungsten carbide dies. Now. be advised that much of the military brass will not be long enough.7 105.case recovery is not feasible. The RA cases seem to be right on specification if you’re lucky enough to have a few thousand of these tucked back. 311316.5 254 Saeco 254 Saeco HP 311465 311465 HP 118. I separated a couple of hundred cases.0 116. flat meplat.270” and I was aware of this from previous encounters with the . I was able to come up with the following candidates for testing. I also decided to use an RCBS taper crimp die for all loading. and #311316 to feed due to their wide. Searching through my stash of moulds.2 302 Saeco 302 Saeco HP 118.2 122.30 Carbine. 311465. 254 Saeco HP. 311008 HP. and 311465 HP Bullet 308244 3118 311008 HP 311359 HP Weight (grains) 94.2 311316 119. I encountered once fired cases as short as 1. the #31108 HP. Lyman’s 311359. and then trimmed it all to 1. .30 Carbine in the Ruger Blackhawk. There are many mould suitable for use in the . the Saeco 254 and 302.286” per Lyman’s instructions. I know trimming to proper length is one of the warnings in the book and I was determined to do this right…at least to start off with. 302 Saeco HP. I was able to “bump” a bevel on the edge of the meplat and reduce it in size. At any rate. By using a #465 round top punch during sizing and lubricating.
All of these tests with Herco and subsequent tests with heavier bullets indicated signs of pressure so I’ll discontinue its use as I believe it is too far down the burning rate chart.30 Carbine during the course of this exercise: (1) Seat bullets as long as your rifle and magazines will allow.30 Carbine in the 20 years or so since Lyman’s #3 Cast Bullet manual was published. I decided to try it as it has proven very accurate for me in the 30/30. Long Shot and 4227. Herco was particularly good with this bullet as the cases dropped right to the right of the action on the bench. A shot of Ed’s Red and that was gone. One of the initial bullets tested was a 311465 HP. 311008 HP and 311316 (Note the slightly rounded meplat on the three bullets on the right) One of the reasons for these tests. I developed three hard rules for loading the . I had never seen it mentioned for use in the . It functioned very well and is probably the most accurate bullet I have tested. besides giving me the chance to acquire and shoot a different rifle. Most publications recommend 1. Looking back that far and examining manuals. Though different loads may be required due to the many different carbines in use.30 Carbine is a high pressure little beast at best. Don’t try and make it something it isn’t.30 Carbine.L-R: 311008 HP. and Hodgdon‘s Lil Gun and Long Shot to see if they are suitable for cast in the carbine. #465 top punch. 2400. I reassembled the piston and proceeded for the next round of the test. I decided to pull the piston and see what was happening in the way of lead shavings in the piston recess. Since I had no H110. you have the “usual suspect” powders in every edition. I found it clean as a whistle. Only the two bottom grooves were lubed as I don’t like lube exposed on any ammunition that I’m likely to be carrying around in a pocket. An article in the #1 Lyman Cast Bullet manual mentioned its use for deer. Blue Dot. I test fired rounds loaded with WC820. “bumped” 3118. I came about these three rules through trail and error.309” diameter. Nearly every manual lists H110. WW 296 will work as well. My previous experience made me wonder about leading in the gas piston. Given the limited number of rounds loaded for this test. was to see what new powders have come along for the . Herco. ruining a bolt and an ejector during the process. All of the loads I fired seemed fairly accurate but at that point I was most interested in finding loads that would function the action. with only the expected powder residue. It looks like pressures get kind of unwieldy at the upper end of the . and all tests used 311359 HP bullet. Lil Gun. Since I had received a piston nut wrench. (3) Do not exceed published maximum loads. This round of tests was to develop a baseline for some new powders I had not used in the carbine and cannot find listed anywhere. WW 296 or Accurate Arms 9 on hand. I expected some low velocities and failures to eject as was kind of guessing and interpolating starting powder charges. I elected to use WC820 (Lot L50276).680” as the Over All Length (OAL). 2400 and 4227 for the opening volley of the tests. At that point in the test I had approximately 210 rounds of cast through the rifle. Blue Dot. (2) Use bullets of no more than . 4227 and 4759. and its performance really surprised me. but other than that reference. 2400. I figured this would establish a baseline for me at least. I planned to start with some the “usual suspects” and then try some different powders such as Herco. The . I didn’t check for accuracy.
Recovered 311359 HP bullets The two recovered bullets above were once 311359 HPs. The Norma cases seem to be thicker than any of the others. As a result. The noses open and slough off. One note on cases here. I found the loads listed in the table reliably cycled the action.309 WSR 1.309 WSR 1. I do not recommend Long Shot for use in the .usage range. use at your own risk. I’d rather have a little more controlled expansion and I hope that I will get it with the 254 Saeco HP and the 311008 HP. All of these shot well in my rifle with no signs of abnormal pressures but use at your own risk. Long Shot also displayed some pressure indications.0 4227 14.0 1815 45.621 Yes .309 WSR 1. With these tests out of the way and having separated the “sheep from the goats” in powders. The testing totaled approximately 800 rounds. I have noticed that in both the . With the exception of the single Unique load listed. I do not recommend Herco for reloading the .30 Carbine Ruger Blackhawk and in the M1 Carbine that military cases are thicker and show pressure signs much quicker than do the thinner commercial cases.30 Carbine.0 WC820 12.0 2400 12.624 Yes 308244 94.625 Yes Dot 308244 94.30 Carbine until further figures on pressure become available through Hodgdon.0 Blue 9.2 . Cut back . I used mostly military cases for this test as I figured I was prone to lose them and most people shooting cast would probably use them as well. Long Shot seemed to function normally but about every 5th round would result in a case with signs of high pressures.622 Yes 308244 94. I attempted to find loads that reliably functioned the action with the bullets on hand using the remaining powders.5 grain on all loads as your rifle/gas system may be slightly different from mine. They display classic cast HP performance with fairly hard bullets. leaving a . Cases and primers looked normal…most of the time.5 .0 1777 7.309 WSR 1.0 1926 28. Again. as I intend use plain base designs for regular use as gas checks are getting expensive these days. Be aware of this if you develop loads in commercial cases and use military cases for field shooting.9 . so it seems erratic at these pressures.0 Lil Gun 12. It burned clean and functioned the action well.5 1755 4. The 311359 HP gives typical high velocity hollow point expansion so I’ll probably choose a different bullet for my gas checked “regular”.309 WSR 1.3 . I attempted to find loads that would function the action with both plain and gas checked designs. Browsing several forums has turned up similar performances in pistol applications. While I’m pretty sure this will stop any small varmint.0 1916 43. However.30 caliber “button”.620 Yes L50276 308244 94.7 . Bullet Weight Powder Weight Average SD Sized Primer OAL Function Velocity Action 308244 94. I lost several cases to open primer pockets during testing.
5 15.678 1.2 122.5 11.309 .572 Yes 1.5 19.642 1.9 .678 1.310 .7 119.615 1.652 1.0 9.309 .2 118.0 11.0 5.3 12.0 11.0 105.5 11.5 15.9 16.6 29.309 .2 116.0 114.680 1.309 .5 6.658 1.309 .2 116.5 25.569 1.5 8.309 .5 11.309 .309 .9 8.5 11.678 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes .309 .680 1.2 119.0 26.5 12.614 1.2 116.309 .0 119.8 19.0 5.0 11.5 13.5 13.0 8.254SA HP 254SA HP 254SA HP 254SA HP 254SA HP 3118 3118 3118 3118 311008 HP 311008 HP 311008 HP 311008 HP 311008 HP 311359 HP 311359 HP 311359 HP 311359 HP 311316 114.309 1.2 122.0 11.309 .3 49.578 1.309 .0 12.680 1.5 11.6 38.680 1.2 2400 Blue Dot WC820 L50276 Lil Gun 4227 Blue Dot WC820 L50276 4227 Lil Gun 4227 2400 WC820 L50276 Lil Gun Blue Dot Lil Gun WC820 L50276 Unique 4227 WC820 L50276 4227 Blue Dot 2400 Lil Gun 4227 WC820 L50276 2400 Blue Dot Lil Gun Lil Gun 11.578 Yes 1.2 119.581 1.0 114.309 15.0 105.680 1.2 122.8 19.0 11.4 13.309 25.0 114.1 18.4 5.3 18.0 11.309 .309 WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR HSR HSR HSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR 1.5 12.0 114.5 11.625 1.5 11.675 1.309 .581 1.5 11.617 1.0 9.9 .637 1.2 311316 311316 302 SA 302 SA 302 SA 302 SA 302 SA 302 119.309 .0 116.0 22.2 311316 119.5 13.8 20.5 11.0 105.309 .7 119.7 105.309 .7 119.631 1.625 1.309 .5 12.309 .309 .620 1.2 122.0 25.5 13.309 .309 .6 30.309 .581 1.2 122.5 1727 1828 1677 1786 1593 1657 1697 1546 1779 1682 1821 1762 1886 1819 1707 1732 1571 1592 1671 1522 1702 1727 1805 1575 1663 1685 1688 1734 1760 14.6 .581 1.570 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No (Note 1) Yes Yes 311316 119.309 .1.0 8.9 23.3 .9 12.0 105.
2 122.661 1.680 1.309 .5 11.309 .3 10. There are just too many loose parts on it and tolerances are too generous loose for accurate bench shooting.5 122. The little 308244 did about as well and makes a fine light plinking load and will get .9 .309 .661 1.5 129.5 4227 WC820 L50276 2400 Blue Dot 2400 4227 WC820 L50276 Lil Gun Blue Dot 4227 WC820 L50276 2400 Blue Dot Lil Gun Blue Dot 2400 WC820 L50276 Lil Gun 4227 13.5 1582 1679 1757 1711 1720 1538 1702 1728 1699 1445 1585 1700 1683 1699 1729 1705 1621 1770 1530 22. The best bullet for accuracy on paper was the 311465 and it’s hollow point counterpart.5 118.1 120. the gas piston was pulled again and only powder residue was noted.9 10.1 22.309 .636 1.2 122.309 .1 120.678 1.309 . the 311465 HP. They gave pretty consistent 2” groups at 50 yards.678 1.9 18.5 11. After firing all of these test rounds.0 11.309 .309 .309 .309 . These bullets were cast from wheel weights and air cooled.5 11.1 129.8 13.1 120.0 12. From these results.309 WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR WSR 1.650 1.9 18.678 1.0 11.9 13.2 24.5 24. the Unique load allows the action to be operated by hand as with a bolt action.1 120.2 122.5 12.309 .680 1. I’d recommend a cleaning after each 500 rounds fired.2 16.5 118.654 1.8 8.5 8.309 . it appears there is no problem with the gas system being fouled as I found previously.5 118.5 11.5 11.9 6. You’ll note that I didn’t test mention accuracy too often during these tests.9 12.642 1.0 11.5 8.5 120.646 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 311465 129.6 16.5 311465 311465 HP 311465 HP 311465 HP 311465 HP 311465 HP 129.0 11.6 26.309 .5 11.HP SA 302 HP SA 302 HP SA 302 HP SA 302 HP SA 254 SA 254 SA 254 SA 254 SA 254 SA 311465 311465 118.309 .2 Note 1 -Unique gave me the results I expected based on my previous experience.5 11.4 26.309 .0 8.666 1.309 .680 1. Still. If you’re shooting where it’s necessary to save the brass.309 . I really didn’t expect much from the bench from the carbine as it’s not a bench gun.678 1.658 1.5 311465 129. These is no need trying for functioning of the action as pressures before too high before this occurs.636 1.661 1. That’s not what it was designed for.617 1.3 22.2 122.5 8. I did test most of my loads at 50 yards and results ran from what was normally expected to dismal.309 .6 10.5 11.
it’s a fun little rifle with cast and well worth the effort to learn to load. It’s a great little rifle to have stashed with a 30 round magazine loaded with hollow points in case two or four legged varmints get unruly on the homestead. In the case of the #31133. and this proves to me that the M1 Carbine is a cast bullet rifle despite what has been written on the various cast bullet forums. Both of these designs have eluded me in my quest for moulds. I was fortunate enough to lay my hands on two moulds that are the “holy grail” of lovers of light . but it is destructive.30 M1 Carbine – Addendum After the initial article on Cast in the .30 Carbine worth reloading with cast? I think so. For varmints. this quest has lasted for period of about 40 years. In short. #31133 on right has been bumped for feeding in a M1 Carbine) The #311576 was designed by Lyman for the . I had 150 bullets in eight different configurations so I decided to load them up and final proof the loads I had developed. It’s a fun plinking rifle at that range. I fired 150 rounds in strings of twenty rounds without a malfunction.30 caliber cast bullets. I believe the 311359 hollowpoint takes the honors.32-20/. Today. #31133 (both center bullets are 31133s). I was really happy with the results. I was cleaning up the residue of cast bullets on the bench from this test this week after I called it finished. Is the . It’s a mighty fine little rifle for the lady of the house or youngsters to plink with.a lot of use in the future as it’s a plain base and shoots and functions well. The Lyman #31133 is an older design originally intended for the . These are the Lyman #311576 and the Lyman #31133 designs.9 grains) The #31133 is a factory hollow point design with a pin measuring about . It has been discontinued for years. #31133 (116.30 M1 Carbine went to edit. My rifle tended to shoot a bit high at 50 yards but was fairly well on at 100 yards in elevation. Cast in the . .30 Carbine but was only marketed for several years. L-R: #311576.093”. It’s handy to carry out while woods walking if you don’t mind losing some cases.32 WCF and comes only as a factory hollow point design.
8 . #311576 (129. Due to the costs that these moulds are bringing on E-Bay these days. the #31133 won’t feed as is in the . John Goins /beagle .5 1628 12.9 WC820 11.7 .310 RSR 1.30 M1 Carbine.604 2” @ 50 Yd 311576 129. This is the same trick that I pulled in the original article with the #3118/311008 and the 311316 and works quite well. Tests using the Lyman 31133 and 311576 Bullet Weight Powder Weight Average SD Sized Primer OAL Comments Velocity 31133 116. by all means use it in the M1 Carbine as both do very well. it’s definitely no clone of the #311008/3118. The grease grooves have more capacity also.309 WSR 1. it is a clone of the #3118 or #311008 but the nose on this one is larger in diameter and as a result.5 grains) This is a round nose gas check design.5 WC820 11.615 ¾” @ 25 Yards These are both interesting bullet designs and if one happens to come your way. After seeing the two designs side by side. Using a #311 top punch and bumping the nose about 1/16” makes a smaller meplat and a radius that will feed in the carbine. As with the #3118 or #311008.5 1647 6. It feeds well from the carbine magazine and was very accurate in the tests I made with it. it weighs more. they are not worth searching for as many other moulds will do just as well in the M1 Carbine and not be as expensive.According to most bullet casters.
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